Teas of the world

2012-12-16 10:00

Britain

It’s often said that the British empire runs on tea. As represented here by the pictured national tea pot. The United Kingdom has been the largest per capita tea consumer in the world, with each citizen consuming 2.5kg on average yearly.

The British fascination with tea is probably responsible for its global proliferation beyond the reach of China, where tea was first used.

Japan

The Japanese have observed their tea-drinking ceremony with a spiritual reverence since the 9th?century. The traditional ceremony is also called the Way of Tea and involves ceremonial preparation and presentation of powdered green tea.

The Japanese year is even divided into two main seasons by tea practitioners. The sunken hearth season for colder months, traditionally November to April; and the brazier season for warmer months, traditionally May to October. The elaborate ceremony requires a strict set of equipment, including ceramics, clothing and various bamboo utensils.

Maghreb Region

People in the western Arab world, which stretches through North Africa from Libya to Morocco, enjoy their green tea with mint leaves. It is served not only at meal times but throughout the day, and it is especially a drink of hospitality, commonly served whenever there are guests.

Unlike Maghreb food, which is prepared by women, this tea is traditionally a man’s affair, and is prepared by the head of the family. It is served to guests, and it is impolite to refuse it.

America

The Boston Tea Party took place on December 16 1773 after American officials defied British colonial tax laws by refusing to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain.

A group of British colonists then destroyed the tea by throwing it into Boston Harbour.

Tea was thus inaugurated into the realm of politics, and contributed to sparking the American Revolution, which ended with full independence in 1776.

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